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Trust or Will: What’s the difference? 03.01.2011

While there are many complex reasons that a person might create a trust as part of their estate planning package, when our clients ask whether they should create a will or a trust, we start by asking three simple questions:

Do you own real property in more than one state? If you own property in more than one state, upon your death your estate will need to open a probate in each state where such property is located. Opening multiple probates can be costly and time-consuming. By creating a trust during your life and funding your real property into that trust, you can avoid opening multiple probates because a properly funded trust will allow your estate to be administered without any probate at all.

Do you have a blended family? If you have been married more than once or you or your spouse have children from previous relationships, you can protect the assets you’d like to go to your children by creating a trust. Unlike a will, a trust can ensure that your assets will be usable by your surviving spouse while, at the same time, protecting those assets for your children so that when your surviving spouse passes away, your children receive what you planned for them to receive.

Do you need to protect your money from beyond the grave? Often parents have reason to dictate what happens to the assets they pass to their children (or others). It’s not always a good thing to simply bequeath a large amount of assets to children who might not be mature enough to handle such assets. With a trust, the assets can be disbursed over a period of many years (sometimes decades!) so that the benefit of an inheritance can last longer than it might if it was all distributed at once.

Do you have questions about a will or a trust? If so, we can help! Attorneys in both our Battle Ground and Snoqualmie offices will talk you through the specifics of your situation to help you understand whether a will or a trust would be most beneficial for you. Call our law firm and and ask for a free estate planning consultation. When it comes to estate planning, we can turn your complex issues into simple solutions.